THE Sports and Recreation Commission say they can only be able to take the next step in their engagements with FIFA once they get official communication from the world football governing body.
FIFA this week wrote to ZIFA advising them that the Sports Commission should reinstate the association’s suspended board led by Felton Kamambo by January 3 or the country risk being kicked out of the global football family.
The letter was addressed to the ZIFA chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse, who is also under suspension from the Sports Commission.
However, the Sports Commission have not been served with such communication from FIFA. As a matter of courtesy, the ZIFA secretariat, which was also copied on the correspondence, have forwarded the letter to the Sports Commission.
But the Sports Commission yesterday indicated their hands were tied since the communication was not addressed to them.
For the record, the Sports Commission and FIFA have been engaging constantly in the last few weeks over the state of football in Zimbabwe.
“The SRC is yet to receive any official communication addressed to it from FIFA. When that happens it will respond officially,” said the Sports Commission chairman Gerald Mlotshwa in a short response to questions from The Herald.
The Sports Commission suspended the ZIFA executive committee last month over a raft of allegations hovering on governance issues and sexual abuse of female referees.
FIFA have taken note of the situation in Zimbabwe and have been in engagement with the suspended ZIFA board and the Sports Commission.
But the matter took a new twist this week when the world football governing body gave the Sports Commission an ultimatum to reinstate the suspended ZIFA board by January 3 or face the grim possibility of Zimbabwe being suspended from international football.
Such a suspension could result in the Warriors, who are set to take part at the 2021 AFCON finals in Cameroon, next month, being the first casualty of the sanctions, as they will be barred from the tournament.
FIFA, however, maintained they remain fiercely opposed to corruption, and have a zero tolerance to abuse of women, at their member associations.
They said they were committed to investigate the allegations, including the sexual abuse of female referees within domestic football, which formed part of the SRC charge sheet.
FIFA Chief Member Association Officer, Kenny Jean-Marie, wrote to suspended ZIFA chief executive, Mamutse, advising him to inform Sports Commission FIFA will submit the matter to the Bureau of FIFA Council, for a determination, in the event the board was not reinstated.
The world football governing body have also ordered the Sports Commission to reverse their decision to appoint a nine-member ZIFA Restructuring Committee, meant to review the national game, and also conduct a forensic audit.
FIFA said, so far, they believe the suspension of the ZIFA board was based on allegations which are yet to be tested or proven.
“In this context, we consider that the aforementioned decided decisions by the SRC to suspend all members of the ZIFA executive committee based on mere allegations without proof of a final and binding ruling, and subsequently to appoint a ‘restructuring committee’ in lieu of the ZIFA executive committee would appear to be clearly contrary to the above statutory principles.
“As a consequence, should such decisions be considered by FIFA to constitute undue third-party interference in the internal affairs of ZIFA, the appropriate sanctions may have to be imposed on ZIFA by the competent FIFA body.
“In such a case, all of Zimbabwean football would suffer the consequences, especially on the eve of the AFCON 2021.
“In addition, we would like to highlight that it is up to FIFA alone — on the basis of serious and well-founded information as well as under exceptional circumstances — to remove executive bodies of member associations and appoint normalisation committees (cf. art. 8 par. 2 of FIFA Statutes).
“Therefore, we kindly ask you to inform the SRC that in the event its decisions to suspend the ZIFA executive committee members, and to appoint a ‘restructuring committee’ instead are not reversed before January 3, 2022, at the latest, we would have no other choice but to submit the present matter to the Bureau of FIFA Council for consideration and decision,” wrote Jean-Marie.